The future of jobs – let’s make change happen on the inclusion agenda

21 Dec 2017


A core message in the final report of the REC’s Future of jobs commission is that a future UK jobs market must be one where inclusion and objective hiring are the norm and where individuals feel confident that they can succeed through work, irrespective of their background. The recruitment industry can play a pivotal role in making change happen, and our recent discussions with policy makers have laid the foundations for further progress on the inclusion agenda in 2018.

The aim is to break the ‘chicken-and-egg cycle’ of limited aspirations leading to limited career opportunities. Individuals must have faith that they have a genuine chance to progress in work. The stakes are high – for example, it has been estimated that bridging the UK gender gap could add up to £150 billion to GDP in 2025, and that progress on BME representation in work could add £24 billion to the economy annually. The inclusion agenda will increasingly focus on more than just fair access to work; representation in senior positions and pay rates are already key focus areas.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) took part in the latest REC Inclusive Recruitment Forum which was a great platform to take stock of what needs to change and who needs to take action to reduce gender, ethnicity, and disability pay gaps. Specific EHRC recommendations include all jobs being advertised as available for flexible working, a new national target for diversity in senior management positions, and progress towards reducing pay gaps by extending reporting to ethnicity and disability and collecting annual statistics. Better measurement is a key way forward and was also one of the core recommendations in our Future of jobs report.

A genuine step-change on inclusion and social mobility will require more employers to review current hiring procedures and criteria. Driving this kind of re-evaluation lies at the heart of our ongoing Good Recruitment Campaign which has provided a strong hook for engaging with policy makers and key government departments. In addition to our collaborative work with the Department for Work and Pensions on the Disability Confident initiative, we have been invited to take part in the government’s Inclusive Economy Partnership, which sits at the heart of the agenda for building a stronger economy and fairer society; and addresses major societal challenges such as financial inclusion and capability, mental health and transition into work for young people. Speaking at our recent Employment Policy Committee, Alex van Besouw, head of professional services sector within the Cabinet Office’s Business Partnerships Team, underlined the fact that “the REC and the recruitment sector has a unique and pivotal role to play, particularly by focusing on innovation in the recruitment process”. Good to hear!

We will be building on these recent discussions in 2018 and using our Future of jobs report to position our industry’s voice at the forefront of the future of work debate. Making real progress on the inclusion agenda will be a key marker as we look to build the best jobs market in the world by 2025. Let’s go for it!

For further information on the Future of jobs commission, please email

For more information on the REC’s work on inclusion, please email

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